Learning Is a Lifelong Process; Make Sure You Keep It Going

Workshops and classes, online and in person, offer possibilities with Parkinson's

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by Lori DePorter |

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Parkinson’s disease changes many aspects of life, but it doesn’t control everything. Knowledge is power. If you have Parkinson’s, choose to keep learning. Educating yourself on the latest research, treatment options, and everything else about the disease is essential.

However, pursuing other interests is equally important. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to keep learning and living, including family, friends, and others who come into your life. Your cheering section gives you the courage to put your toe in the water or to dive right in.

My kids encouraged me to take classes in journalism, and my husband recommended analytics. I’m exploring both with a free trial of LinkedIn Learning. It has been an anxiety-free virtual classroom, but my next class will involve painting!

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My fellow columnists at BioNews, the parent company of this website and others, have been a source of inspiration for me since my column, “Life, Lemons, and Lemonade,” debuted three years ago. They are part of a team of patient advocates representing many rare disease communities. Our journeys and challenges are different, but we inspire one another by sharing our stories with you. As columnist Kendall Harvey, who writes for Friedreich’s Ataxia News, says, “Your life isn’t over. … You can still go on adventures, try new things, … make new friends, and chase new dreams.”

Life’s circumstances have allowed us to slow down. If you’re like us, you can use the extra time to do something you always wanted to do, but were too busy. Or try something new and out of your comfort zone.

Explore the endless possibilities

Sept. 15 is National Online Learning Day. Celebrate it by becoming one of the many online learners. While some online educational courses require a fee, many offer a free experience. You can choose to earn a certificate or simply learn something new and exercise your brain. Either way it’s a win, and a stress-free way to stay in the game.

Do you like music? You can attend a concert or take a class. As a participant, you can learn something new, make friends, and train your brain. You could also make a difference by participating in research studies. Your contribution could be far-reaching in the quest for a cure.

Museums are becoming accessible for visitors with disabilities. You can participate in a group tour with some friends, and after the program, test yourselves on the fun facts you learned together.

If you prefer getting your hands dirty, attend a do-it-yourself workshop or watch an instructional video project involving paint. You can include a friend, your child, or your grandchild and capture that childhood feeling of triumph as you cover the final spot with one last swoosh of your paintbrush. Your finished product will be perfect because you created it. Smile, take a picture, and get ready for the next adventure.

You can be a source of inspiration to others who want to keep learning. Tell me what you like learning in the comments below and share your experiences at our Parkinson’s News Today Forums.

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


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